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Disguised As Green: Environmentally Friendly or Greenwashing?

CRISIS - Pollution Crises by Fern Teo Global Commons Aug 28th 20235 mins
Disguised As Green: Environmentally Friendly or Greenwashing?

In recent years, there has been an upsurge in environmental consciousness, manifesting in a slew of “environmentally friendly” measures and initiatives aimed at tackling various ecological issues. Governments, corporations, and individuals have rallied around seemingly noble environmental actions, but it is imperative to examine the effectiveness of these efforts. While many initiatives are presented as solutions to our pressing environmental challenges, a closer inspection reveals that some of these measures might be more symbolic than substantive.

Paper Is Not Much More Sustainable Than Plastic

Due to plastic’s lack of biodegradability and renewability, companies have switched to paper as a replacement. They may be unaware of it, but using paper is not a much greener alternative. Here are some reasons why:

What About Tote Bags and Metal Straws?

The fact that many plastic products are for single use has caused us to turn to reusable products as environmentally friendly alternatives. Here are some reasons why this shift does not work:

You might also like: We Need Sustainable Food Packaging Now. Here’s Why.

“Reusable” Travel Utensil Sets

That pastel-coloured takeout container made of recycled plastic may send eco-friendly vibes, however, it is important to understand the real environmental impact before buying it:

“Eco-friendly” Labels and Claims

As the global community becomes more affluent and educated and is exposed to a growing range of choices, “ethical” is the buzzword for purchase. However, the claim does not always mean what we think it does. We should be wary to avoid being susceptible to greenwashing:

Genuinely Green 

Looking at the ways some of us may have been hoodwinked into thinking we were doing the earth a favour; some may feel overwhelmed by the ingenuity and ubiquity of companies who are just out to get our buck, turning our green intentions into nothing. Here are some ways to ensure we are making environmentally friendly choices:

Concluding Thoughts

While seemingly environmentally friendly products have gained prominence and applause, it is crucial to remain vigilant and critical in evaluating their true effectiveness. Addressing complex environmental challenges demands a deeper commitment than simply adopting superficial initiatives. To create a meaningful impact, efforts should be directed toward systemic changes, comprehensive policies, and a shift in societal values. By examining the true impact of our choices and demanding more substantial actions, we can strive for a genuinely sustainable future rather than settling for illusory solutions.

You might also like: 8 Sustainable Packaging Solutions to Solve the Plastic Waste Dilemma

About the Author

Fern Teo

Fern holds a M(Ed) for Literature and is a former lecturer for Literature and current affairs. She also taught Geography, and wrote for a geographic magazine. Her most recent work has taken her around the Asia Pacific region for prison and children's ministry. Passionate about nature, Fern volunteers locally in Singapore doing coastal surveys, outreach, community gardening, education, and caring for animals.

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